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Brother, My Brother
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Photo: Annie Andre
The ball dribbled across the court and finally rolled off the asphalt. My brother and I paid the ball no attention. My mind was fully focused on the punches I was throwing at my brother’s face with all of my might. He was clearly on the same wavelength as I, and was clearly out to do me considerable harm as well. And just as my fist found solid purchase with the side of his head, I felt a pop somewhere in my skull and my left eye went red. All of a sudden we found ourselves staring at each other fuming and out of breath. I was supremely enraged and wanted more than anything to make mincemeat of his nose. Then he began to smile. I felt my shoulders start to shake and the corner of my mouth begin to turn upwards. And then we were hysterically laughing at what had just transpired between the two of us.

Cain and Able Moment

You see, my older brother and I had never gotten in to a physical fight before that day. Ever. To this moment I have no idea why our desire to beat the snot out of each other emerged when it did. Perhaps it was the year after year of my passive aggressive barbs, or maybe his incessant insistence on being reasonable and pacifistic that finally snapped the both of us into a Cain and Able moment. Whatever it was, the fight quickly became a matter of hilarity and ridiculousness to both of us, and was resolved in a matter of minutes with both of us reassuring the other how incredibly juvenile we were.

While the fight between my brother and I was over something incredibly trivial, he alleges that I was guarding him too closely in a neighborhood pick-up game, the fact that we so immediately realized the stupidity of our violent aims encourages me still. But when I gaze out at the world, and even within the church, this quickness to resolve disputes and realize the folly of wanting to do others harm is missing. I have observed or have been privy to countless quarrels between individuals and even groups within congregations, and it is my guess that I am not alone in this regard. It must end. We are reminded in Romans to “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves” (Romans 12:10).  I hope to be an agent for peace between my brothers and sisters in Christ far more than I have been in the past.

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By Garrett Gladden. Copyright © 2011 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®.


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